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Friday, January 8, 2010

High Water In Marianna ~ Marianna Residents Upset Over City Bills

December bills were significantly higher than normal By Sid Riley

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Marianna City Commission, Marianna citizens, Mr. and Mrs. Roulhac took time to attend the meeting and question the panel about the justification for the increases they have seen in their charges for city services, including water, sewage, and gas. They also questioned the presence of a “flat charge” fee and then a “consumption charge” for water and gas.

The Commissioners and City Manager Jim Dean responded to their questions. They explained that December had been a very cold month, thus increasing their gas consumption. When they disclosed that most of the increase was in water and sewage charges, Commissioner John Roberts told them, “You might need to have a plumber check your house, you may have a toilet running all of the time, or something like that.”

They discussed the fact that the flat rate covers basic, fixed costs. “A citizen would have to pay around $54 per month, even if they were gone for a month, had everything shut off, and had zero consumption,” Roberts explained.

Jim Dean explained that the flat rate and consumption charges had always been included in billing, but the old billing system lumped them together, where the new system now shows more detail and separates these charges. He also stated that he would be glad to review the bill in question with Mr. and Mrs. Roulhac if they will visit his office.

The Roulhac’s left the podium somewhat appeased, but still facing a big increase in their living costs. (This writer’s bill went from $92 for November to $166 in December….all water and sewage costs.)

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